One Sided Love
I shy away from friendships that are laden with sexual tension. I seem to prefer the straight up honesty of a relationship with intimacy and sex, or no relationship at all. I've been thinking about this, because it doesn't seem like other people operate that way, and it's making me question that reality for myself.
When I was younger, I hung out almost exclusively with guys. I had male room mates, male friends, and we'd play games, drink, listen to music, go for hikes, and just hang. I was much less feminine than I am now and felt at home around that masculine energy. On some level I knew that my bros were attracted to me, and I enjoyed it without really caring too much. I had a boyfriend in the group, and our relationship was tumultuous and dramatic at the best of times, and I found myself becoming close friends with one of the more meek dudes in the group. When shit hit the fan with my partner and we broke up yet again, I turned to my soft friend for comfort, and we ended up trying to have a very lopsided relationship. He was inexperienced, clingy and so emotionally available that it turned me completely off, and after realizing how imbalanced the power dynamic was, I couldn't continue forward in good faith. It almost felt a little creepy to have so much power over another human being - for him to be so in love with me that I could have pretty much gotten away with anything. I didn't like it. In its essence I remember it making me feel guilty.
I thought that we could return to friendship, and we looked at moving to a nearby Island, full of culture and fun. I assumed that as friends, we'd be able to be room mates and carry on as we had before we had tried to "be a couple". It became apparent that he was moony for me on the trip, and I gently talked to him about the reality that I would be dating, etc when we lived together. I could tell I was breaking his heart. I decided to not move, and he decided that he was going to anyways.
Almost seven years down the road we were sitting at my kitchen table talking. Our friendship had stayed intact and he had come to visit me multiple times over the years during breaks from school and work. The Island had really suited him, and he had mellowed and matured. He admitted to me that he had only very recently stopped carrying a torch for me, and 'gotten over me'. I had honesty had no idea that he'd been so in love with me for so long, and I remember it absolutely stunning me. Here I had been investing in a friendship, and it had been as lopsided as my attempt to pursue a relationship with him.
It changed something in me. I had loved him all along, but as a friend, and the idea that I had unknowingly been emotionally torturing him all that time made me feel like I had been irresponsible with his feelings. Made me feel like my intuition and expectations around having friendships with men was misguided. I remembered the line from When Harry Met Sally about how men and women couldn't be friends, and realized how true it had rung in our circumstance.
It's a decade later and him and I are still friends. He is like a brother to me, and our friendship carries so much history and love. It is unshakable, and I have his back at any time that he needs me. Elemental and him get along like crazy, and R. has spoken of his respect for E. as a man and encouraged me to work out any problems that I'm having as he's R's favourite partner of mine ever.
That experience awoke a truth inside of me that I've never really been able to shake, mind you. I've been reminded of it with Willow, and am finding it spooky how many parallels there are there. I love Willow, but was willing to step back from that relationship when it became clear that it wasn't the right option for me/my relationship with Elemental. I can feel this intense love pouring out of him for me, and it seems a tad misguided - as though he has never really fallen in love with someone before and is being overwhelmed by the experience. He says that he's willing to step back to friendship and find a way to make that work, but I only need enter a room that he is in to know that he has no desire to just be friends. I have felt him get an erection from hugging me; the desire is too strong, and it's ridiculous to assume that we could "just be friends" at this point in time.
And so I watch myself disengage. Gently and respectfully with full communication, but still stepping back. I can't be that part of his life; a part that brings a lack of balance and unhappiness at not having what he wants. Don't want to witness him settling when I know that he wants more from me. Won't inadvertently taunt him by "being his friend".
And it makes me realize that I don't have guy friends anymore. There are my girlfriend's husbands/partners, but I never spend one-on-one time with them, and there are longterm friends like R. and one of our mutual friends that games with E. and I from time to time. I have some gay male friends whom I adore and feel at ease with. It makes me realize that I don't enjoy relationships with sexual tension unless something can be done about it. That I don't like to foster that energy if it's below the surface. It feels wrong to me, and I would rather not have that dynamic in my life. When I get hit on at my business I speak about my husband, and realize that I have cultivated a wide circle of female friends.
Now that I've discovered just how bi I am, I'm wondering why I don't feel the same way about women. I seem to have no issues with friendships with women, even if I know that I'm attracted to them/vice versa. So what makes this any different than the friendships with men? Is it that natural yin/yang of MF energy that I avoid? Is it that I feel that women are more inclined to balance out feelings of connected intimacy without getting overly attached? Do we just naturally have more closeness in our friendships, and not need to explore those attractions outside of the parameters that we set? Are we less likely to pine after each other?
It's been an interesting thought process for me. Not sure that I'm drawing any conclusions, but I have been thinking about it. Sexual tension in friendships - does it tap into feelings of dishonesty for me? Do I not like skewed power dynamics in general? Curious business, this.
Where you go... there you are.